Horizon WIDERA 2023 Call – Excellence Hubs

29 November 2022 - 7 March 2024


Excellence hubs are part of the European excellence initiative and complement the science oriented schemes Teaming, Twinning, ERA Chairs and the European excellence initiative for universities by a dedicated innovation component. Excellence hubs will focus on innovation by allowing innovation ecosystems in widening countries and beyond, to team up and create better linkages between academia, business, government and society. This will foster a real placed based innovation and entrepreneurial culture in widening countries based on a strategic agenda aligned with regional or national smart specialisation strategies. In this context, synergies will be sought with the programme parts on European Innovation Ecosystems and the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT).

This action is embedded into the broader European initiative on ERA hubs and will help to bridge the innovation divide in this context. It responds to the third priority in the ERA communication on translating R&I results into the economy and will especially support R&I policies aiming at boosting the resilience and competitiveness of our economies and societies. This means ensuring Europe’s competitive leadership in the global race for technology based on excellence while improving the environment for business R&I investment, deployment of new technologies and enhancing the take up and visibility of research results in the economy and society as a whole. This action addresses regions as R&I actors since they are the place where the innovation and industrial ecosystems breath and develop, making the links between Horizon Europe and industry, research centres, innovation stakeholders as well as citizens. The participation of SMEs is especially encouraged. Regionally developed innovation ecosystems connected across Europe will be the driver of new European strategic value chains.

Unlike Teaming projects that are centred around a single beneficiary Excellence hubs are networks of place based innovation ecosystems in widening countries involving larger communities of actors in a regional context based on the quadruple helix principle (see below). Individual participants and ecosystems from other EU member states, associated countries and international co-operation partners may join in duly justified cases e.g. given by a specific expertise needed or the involvement in a relevant value adding chain.

Expected Outcome:

Excellence hubs are an initiative to strengthen regional innovation excellence in placed based innovation ecosystems by cross-border collaboration on a common strategy and/or alongside value adding chains. Place based innovation ecosystems are interconnected companies, research institutions, governmental bodies and societal actors that are mutually reinforcing each other in a territorial context and together raise the level of innovation excellence in their regional fabric.

View the Call in the Funding and Tenders Portal

Find all details and extensive information about the Call under the Horizon Widera Work Programme 2023-2024

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